ADC: Playground award is a chance worth taking
With regard to Eleftheria Parpis' column on the ADC Annual Awards' new Playground category for unproduced work ["Very Faint Praise," A&C, Jan. 24], it should be noted that we did weigh the concerns she cited before introducing it. In its 84 years, the Art Directors Annual has continually evolved to reflect the vitality of our industry. A few years ago, when student work became eligible, it added a new level of excitement to the competition. Last year we introduced a MultiChannel category to recognize integrated campaigns, and we've succeeded that with our Hybrid category. In each case, the judging became even more rigorous, and the same can be expected for entries in Playground.
Ms. Parpis worries that it might further motivate writers and art directors to produce ads merely to win medals. We believe the role of the ADC Annual Awards is to provide appropriate channels to recognize and present original thinking and fresh ideas, the efforts of the most determined scammers notwithstanding. Playground is just an extension of this commitment. Comparing it to The One Club's "Night of the Living Dead" exhibition, as Ms. Parpis does, is not entirely fair. The "Living Dead" work was not vigorously judged, while Playground entries will be. We will not include work in the Annual that could embarrass clients or that appears off target or questionable.
As with the student entries, we don't expect many Playground entries will make it into the Annual. But the ADC will continue to find ways to expose fresh, new thinking, as long as it is intelligently and realistically evaluated by our juries. They'll be looking for work that embodies our standard of what constitutes "visual fuel." If Playground manages to elicit more of this for our energy-hungry industry, it will justify us taking this chance.
The Art Directors Club